Friday, June 22, 2012

Enough grandstanding on the Syrian question: Al-Akhbar English versus

OK.  I have had enough: enough grandstanding on the Syrian question in the US press.  I say that after I saw a major article on Al-Arabiyya English (a House of Saud propaganda outlet) about Max Blumenthal's resignation from Al-Akhbar (which is being treated like Nasser's resignation in 1967).  This is not about Max: I like Max and respect him although I never met him.  But there is some contextualization necessary.  Look: I wrote (once) in the Nation magazine and wrote several times for Aljazeera net and now I write regularly for Al-Akhbar English.  I am not taking a swipe against anyone who write for this or that medium especially that I wrote for all three mentioned.  But no one is in the position to appear holiest than thou and I believe that we are limited in where we can write and none are free media.  The Nation magazine has a very lousy record but I won't consider anyone who write there a traitor to the cause, and I don't consider those who write for Aljazeera net as traitor either. That would be ridiculous.  There are no perfect or ideal media in Arabic or English, in the East or the West.  Each media is guilty of covering up for this regime or that: but I am willing to compare Al-Akhbar against all the other competitors.  Yes, Al-Akhbar English has published articles defending the Syrian regime as it has published more articles critical of the Syrian regime (to varying degrees).  Here is the test: Al-Akhbar English has published articles calling for the downfall of the Syrian regime and has published many interviews with Syrian dissidents.  Would ever, EVER, publish one word of criticism of Qatari dynasty? Would it ever, EVER, publish an interview with a Qatari dissident?  And here is another test: support for the Syrian regime should be objectionable but support for the Muslim Brotherhood and the gangs of the Free Syrian Army should be AS objectionable.  But it is not the case: only the regime that is on the target list becomes objectionable and the other pro-US Arab regimes are not seen as objectionable.  I mean, those people who are taking swipes at Al-Akhbar (and I am not in a position to defend the paper: I have no editorial control or responsibility, I simply write for the Arabic paper and the English site.  But enough hypocrisy please.  People who write for oil and gas media are in no position to even criticize Al-Akhbar.  People who cover up for Israeli war crimes are in no position to even speak about media responsibility.  I will even say this: Al-Akhbar English and Arabic stand out in that they uniquely have published criticisms of both sides in the Syrian crisis (and by both sides I don't mean the people of Syria versus the regime, but the Free Syrian Army gang and the sponsoring Ikhwan and the Syrian regime).  But it is the season of grandstanding: support for Moroccan, Bahraini, Saudi, Qatari, and Jordanian tyrannies are not seen as controversial but a publication that contains different viewpoints on Syria is seen as controversial. There is a propaganda war going on orchestrated by the US and Saudi Arabia and Israel: the aim is to silence and delegitimize and stigmatize all media that support resistance to Israel.  That is the real goal: this is not about Syria (in terms the campaign to discredit some media but not others in the Arab world).  When the Guardian newspaper labels Al-Mayadin (which has been launched only days ago as "pro-Iranian), you know that those media, like the Guardian, never dare label Al-Jazeera as "owned by Qatari royal dynasty" and those hypocritical media never dare to refer to Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat as owned by sons of Prince Salman and never identify Al-Hayat as "owned by Prince Khalid bin Sultan).  This is a propaganda game and it is obvious that in such circumstances Western media don't develop professional standards but they basically adhere to the political standards of the US government.  I mean, why was not support for  the repressive Syrian regime controversial when that regime got along with Western governments?  Go play in the garden.

PS In other words, AlAkhbar (accused of a pro-Asad slant) publishes articles calling for Asad's downfall.  When the Arab oil and gas media call for the downfall of the Saudi or Qatari royal regimes, we can talk, or when the Western liberal media, like the Nation, dare publish an article calling for the demise of Israel.